| Detroit Free Press
Jeff Blashill explains why Detroit Red Wings waived Evgeny Svechnikov
Jeff Blashill explains why the Detroit Red Wings placed former first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov on waivers, Jan. 11, 2021.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Former Detroit Red Wings first-round picks Michael Rasmussen and Dennis Cholowski made the taxi squad — for now — while Evgeny Svechnikov was assigned to the minors.
The Wings pared their roster to 22 players Tuesday evening, in advance of the NHL starting the 2021 season Wednesday. The Wings open Thursday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Little Caesars Arena.
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Teams are allowed to carry four-to-six players on a taxi squad this season because of concerns playing during a pandemic. The thinking is teams need extra bodies on hand, rather than relying on calling up a player who has to travel from the team’s minor-league affiliate, which could require quarantining.
In addition to Rasmussen and Cholowski, the Wings’ taxi squad includes forward Givani Smith, defenseman Gustav Lindstrom and goaltenders Kevin Boyle and Calvin Pickard.
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The Wings want their prospects playing, so if they are not in the lineup when the Grand Rapids Griffins begin in early February, they could be assigned to the AHL.
Those assigned to the minors Tuesday numbered Svechnikov, who cleared waivers, along with forwards Riley Barber, Kyle Criscuolo, Turner Elson, Taro Hirose, Chase Pearson, and Dominic Turgeon, defensemen Joe Hicketts, Brian Lashoff and Dylan McIlrath and goaltender Kaden Fulcher.
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Additionally, the Wings designated forward Darren Helm (who has been unfit to practice since the second day of camp), and defensemen Christian Djoos (claimed off waivers Jan. 9) and Jared McIsaac (recovering from surgery) as nonroster, and released goaltender Pat Nagle from his professional tryout.
That left 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders still standing. They are forwards Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Filip Zadina, Tyler Bertuzzi, Bobby Ryan, Robby Fabbri, Luke Glendening, Valtteri Filppula, Adam Erne, Frans Nielsen, Mathias Brome, Sam Gagner and Vladislav Namestnikov; defensemen Filip Hronek, Danny DeKeyser, Marc Staal, Patrik Nemeth, Jon Merrill, Troy Stecher and Alex Biega; and goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier.
The Wings were off Tuesday.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.